Journal of Modern Rehabilitation 2016. 10(3):120-127.

Enhancement of Executive Functions with Cognitive Rehabilitation in Older Adults
Vahid Nejati, Shahriar Shahidi, Sanaz Helmi

Abstract


Introduction: Age-related decreases in cognitive functions such as executive functions are a common phenomenon. Cognitive rehabilitation with two main approaches, compensation and remediation, is used to help elderlies coping with these deficits. Despite reported benefits, there are doubts on the efficacy of each of these approaches. We tried to provide effective computerized cognitive tasks as a rehabilitation intervention for elderlies to help them regain their lost executive functions.
Material and Methods: A 10-session cognitive training, in which 16 participants trained to regain their executive function shortcomings, was held using attentive rehabilitation of attention and memory (ARAM). Data from all 32 participants, assigned randomly to trained and control groups, were analyzed by paired and independent t-tests to examine each group’s improvement over time and to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. Wisconsin card sorting test, continuous performance test, and Stroop color-word test were used as assessment tools.
Results: Results showed that general executive functioning that requires strategic planning and the ability to use environmental feedback to shift cognitive improved effectively using the intervention (P < 0.010). In overall, findings showed that ARAM is an effective tool for cognitive rehabilitation in elderlies. It overcomes limitations of most strategy learning programs.
Conclusion: Although improvements were observed in executive functions such as attentional control, sustained attention, inhibitory control, and cognitive shifting in elderlies, further study needs to investigate the ARAM’s transfer and long-term effects.
Keywords: Attentive rehabilitation of attention and memory; Cognitive rehabilitation; Older adult

Keywords


Attentive rehabilitation of attention and memory; Cognitive rehabilitation; Older adult

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